Pistols at Dawn at The Monto, Water Rats Theatre

Having once been a part of the London pub band community I lept at the chance to shoot my old buddy Matt Ball and his band Pistols at Dawn down at The Monto, a sticky-carpet venue at the back of an even stickier carpetted pub Called the Water Rats in Kings Cross last night.

Got there at about six to recce the place before the bands started (four bands in one night) and was greeted to the ear-splitting sound of the main act doing a sound check in an empty room.  But more of them in a mo.

Pistols are a four-peice carved from somewhere between Manic Street Preachers, Elbow and something a little more gloomy.  Subtly woven samples blend with a gluey bassline and some stratospheric guitar work; it all conspires to make a very pleasing bundle if a little apocalyptic.   It’s not dance music but it’s well listenable.

The warm up band turned out to be something quite different; about a dozen spaniards (from Granada as it turned out) who spun up some flamenco based rap – no, I wouldn’t have believed it either if I hadn’t been there and heard it live.  Lyrics weren’t a problem for the leading lady as she only needed to be fluent in ooh, aah and ya- ya-ya across several octaves.  More concerning was whether the buttons would hold out on her very tight jacket.

Pistols kicked in at about 8pm and were well received by their loyal following.  Their set was slick and rich featuring forthcoming single Man Wolf Man (download free from www.pistolsatdawn.co.uk).  The footage I took is to be mastered by their own hands and will re-emerge after christmas but I snuck out a quick edit and you can see it first here – enjoy.

Oh, the main act? The Temperance Movement. Very hardcore, very tight and very ballsy.  You couldn’t help feeling that their vocalist was coached by Stereophionics’ Kelly Jones but the sound was very much their own; I felt like a teenager discovering Bad Company for the first time. And although my ears were bruised my heart was lifted by quite one of the best hard rock sets I’ve seen in a while.


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